The Telegraph
Sunday , February 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singhal in ‘PM Modi’ chorus

New Delhi, Feb. 2: Ashok Singhal, the former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief, is latching on to Narendra Modi for his resurrection in the Sangh parivar.

That the power scales in the Hindutva family are tilting towards the Gujarat chief minister was evident when Singhal rooted for Modi in the past few days as the new “Hindu hriday ka samrat” (monarch of the Hindu heart).

Years ago, when the VHP had shepherded the Ayodhya movement, Singhal was a claimant to this title with L.K. Advani and Kalyan Singh.

Singhal, who has been out of action since G. Raghava Reddy took over as VHP president in 2011, told a TV channel today the “entire country wants to see Modi as the next PM” and clerics associated with the VHP too “might think the same way”. Asked if he had Modi in mind as the next Prime Minister, Singhal said: “The Hindus want him.”

The VHP is holding a meeting of its mahamandaleswars (comprising sankaracharyas and monks) on February 6-7 in Allahabad. It is expected to pass resolutions on many issues, including the next phase of the plan for the construction of a grand Ram temple and against alleged victimisation of Sangh members for terror.

A source close to Modi said the chief minister was likely to visit the Kumbh Mela venue this month, although it is unlikely to coincide with the VHP congregation. The source said Modi would avoid the occasions of Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchami and Shivratri because of the crowds they attract.

Singhal first sounded his Modi-as-Prime Minister call on January 27. He told reporters in Allahabad: “It is up to the BJP to decide its prime ministerial candidate. The country’s Hindus want to see Modi as Prime Minister.”

Although Modi never had the best of relations with the VHP since he fell out with Praveen Togadia, Singhal has ensured he remained on his right side.

To dispel the notion that the VHP was working against Modi in the Gujarat polls, Singhal ensured that he, RSS chief Mohanrao Bhagwat and the chief minister were seen together at a religious event in a village near Ahmedabad in early November.

BJP and Sangh sources said Singhal’s “comeback” on the Hindutva centre-stage ran parallel to the RSS’s endeavour to flag the Ram temple and terror on the BJP’s agenda.

“Singhal is a strong face of political Hindutva and it is necessary to see he works in tandem with the BJP,” a source said.